One of the most difficult aspects of running a business is dealing with the emerging challenges of company growth. Traditionally, one of the best ways to ensure the success of this enterprise was to hire great employees and keep them for a long time.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic struck and disrupted the natural flow of this process. As a result, companies were forced to make debilitating layoffs, and professionals had to rapidly alter their career paths to make ends meet.
As restrictions gradually begin to ease in the wake of the pandemic and the economy starts to pick up steam, many companies scramble to find competent workers to get their business back up to speed. The following breakdown looks at five of the most common staffing challenges businesses face in 2021 and provides some realistic means to help solve them.
5 STAFFING CHALLENGES AND HOW TO SOLVE THEM
1. Balancing Experience and Cost
As the age-old adage goes: “There is no substitute for experience.” This has long held true in the business world, as hiring managers have given top priority to those professionals with a proven track record of success.
With the economy in full swing, it was nothing for a company to shell out a premium salary to land a candidate with years of documented competence in the field. However, the pandemic has created a couple of major obstacles in this regard:
- Businesses do not have the money to hand out senior-level salaries
- Senior-level professionals are requiring heftier offers to leave secure situations amid the uncertainty wrought by the pandemic
This has created a dire situation for businesses anxious to get on the right post-pandemic track--they need the best but can’t afford them.
To help mitigate this issue, hiring managers should take a much more qualitative look at candidates. Instead of scrutinizing previous roles, managers need to look at specific accomplishments and gauge whether they are repeatable or transferable. Instead of years of experience, managers should weigh potential upside.
While this new evaluative process carries a greater degree of risk, it helps companies avoid paying for experience with money that they don’t have. It also gives the company the chance to land the diamond-in-the-rough candidate who can help shape the post-pandemic direction of the company for years to come.
2. Achieving Flexibility
Evolve or die out. That is the mantra of business. After all, how many people could have envisioned Netflix’s rapid transformation from a company that specialized in mail-order movie rentals to one of the leading studios for high-quality, original entertainment content?
As technology continues to play an ever-increasing role in the business world, businesses will continue to evolve in unimaginable ways. Therefore, it is essential to have a workforce with a wide array of diverse skills that will not be pigeonholed into the wrong kind of niche.
A great way to help achieve flexibility in the workforce is by making greater use of part-time workers, freelancers, and independent contractors. While it used to be difficult to find top performers willing to work for anything less than a full-time position, an increasing number of professionals are drawn to the flexibility of these “gig” roles. The drawbacks of working with people not as attuned to your company culture can be mitigated by the fresh energy, new vision, and increased flexibility brought to the table by these professionals willing to work with you in your time of need.
3. Retaining Talent
In 2019, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics reported that the average person will have 12 jobs in his or her lifetime. If the average working career is 40 years, that equates to people changing jobs every 3.33 years. Finally, as it takes most businesses between six to nine months to recoup the cost of recruiting, hiring, and training new employees, the actual “productive” relationship with an employee is little more than two years.
And that was before the pandemic.
With professionals finding new ways to make money, such as through affiliate marketing and retail stock trading, during a year of lockdowns and restrictions, professionals may be more likely to approach traditional jobs with a one-foot-out-the-door approach.
As a result, money is unlikely to be the sole driving force behind accepting a position. Instead, companies must get creative with employee fringe benefits and offer flexible work schedules to rival freelancers to help ensure loyalty in their workforces.
4. Adjusting to Remote Recruiting
The COVID-19 pandemic expedited the shift to remote recruiting for HR departments. While using social media, applicant tracking software, and videoconferencing can reduce the time and cost associated with cultivating prospects, the remote recruiting environment has made it more difficult for companies to ensure a top-notch candidate experience.
To avoid candidates feeling detached during the interview process, use technology creatively to demonstrate your seriousness of recruitment. For example, give candidates an interactive 3D tour of their would-be office and host group video conferences as a means of making them feel at home with their colleagues.
5. Cross-Generational Teams
Never has a workforce been more diverse in terms of age. With the pandemic forcing some of the recently-retired Baby Boomers back into the workplace, a single team can consist of up to four generations: Baby Boomers, Generation X, Millennials, and Generation Z.
This can create challenges for managers as they try to blend each generation's unique experience and skills into a cohesive unit.
To help navigate these issues and avoid any conflicts that may arise in regard to experience or seniority, it is important to clearly define roles, outline responsibility and decision authority, and implement an effective communication framework within the team.
How to Handle Staffing Challenges
One of the traditional components of valuing a business is measuring its potential for future growth. To ensure that the business is well-equipped to handle growth, it is important to have quality employees to grow with the business.
However, the COVID-19 pandemic arrived and interrupted this natural progression, creating new challenges for hiring managers and HR departments. By considering the five staffing challenges and potential solutions listed above, companies can put themselves in a strong position to get the most out of their workforce in 2021.
About the Author: Andrew Nelson is a freelance writer and contributor in the Human Resource Industry. He specializes in topics such as workplace management, employee lifestyle and fringe benefits, employee retention and employee development.